A poetry film that explores ideas of alienation and personal identity in relation to others and by testing the limits within the self.

Appraisal (A poetry film) from Melissa Diem on Vimeo.

Images by Melissa Diem
Poem written and read by Melissa Diem
Sound production by Colm Slattery
Filmed in Ireland in 2013



I tested what to do or not from strange lives passing swiftly
before me on a thirty-six inch screen or me before them
on a train travelling before curtains are drawn and after the lights flick on
to renovated kitchens viewed from the back, bird-tables, trampolines all gathering nets.
I tested my body – giving up food, and days I could sleep in multitudes,
pressing the pliable walls of my mind and scaffolds of thought to a fault-line.
I walked across the country with my eyes closed
like a kid trying on sizes pretending to be blind because you haven’t figured out
how to gauge the distance of your life against others.
Or like testing an ornament unbearably fragile you’ve been told not to touch
but you can’t stand the tension of not knowing
the exact measure of pressure it would take
to crush it


Melissa Diem has an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin and was awarded a Bank of Ireland Millennium Scholarship. She has published the novel, Changeling [Pan (UK) and Gill & Macmillan (Ireland)] and poetry in several journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Shop, The Sunday Tribune, and Rival. She was the Featured Poet in The Stinging Fly Spring issue 2010. Melissa has exhibited visual media throughout Ireland including at the RHA, Iontas, Guinness Hopstore and The Ark. the one about the bird and Appraisal are her first poetry films and have been selected for several festivals including Belfast Film Festival 2013, Filmpoem 2013, Visible Verse 2013, 9th Cologne International Videoart Festival and finalist in both the La Parola Immaginata – Trevigliopoesia 2013 and Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition, 2013. She is currently working on her third poetry film and developing artwork for an upcoming book of poetry. 


Photo By: Guy Renard